Winners in Vegas (AP Photos/ Matt York)

The LIFE Foundation recently announced the four recipients of their 17th annual realLIFEstories Client Awards Program.

The program strives to underscore the importance of owning life insurance by using real-world anecdotes in order to stimulate public awareness of the role that a policy can play when tragedy strikes.

The 2012 honorees are: Lisa Rinehart, Principal Financial Group, Fresno, Calif.— Lisa worked with a young couple who were going into business together. She concluded that they needed life insurance and a year later, when the husband found out that melanoma had returned, he was able to trigger a provision in one of his policies that allowed for an early payout to a terminally ill policy holder and utilized part of his death benefit to purchase a nicer home for his wife and young children. He was able to enjoy living in the home with them for a year before he died at age 34. His wife used that remainder of the death benefit to pay off medical bills and keep the household solvent.

Pedro J. Busse, New York Life, Miami, Fla.— After the children of Cuban immigrants worked and saved their whole lives to afford a home, Pedro worked with the couple and helped them find a life insurance policy that could supplement mortgage payments in the event that something happened to one of them. As the couple grew more prosperous, Pedro reanalyzed their life insurance needs and worked with them to increase their coverage. The husband was soon diagnosed with leukemia and although his treatments made it impossible for him to work, he was able to maintain his insurance coverage because riders on his policy waived premium payments in the event of a disability. After the husband’s death, his wife was able to maintain the same standard of living and send the kids to college because of the coverage they had purchased.

Thomas Waring Jr., MassMutual, Hamburg, NY.— Thomas sold life insurance to a young couple in their 20’s explaining to them the many attractive qualities of owning a policy, especially the cash values that would build up in the policy that could help them save for retirement while still providing a death benefit. When the couple’s first child was born with spinal bifida, a malformation of the spinal cord, the cash values allowed them to pay for things that were not covered under their health insurance. Their life insurance policy also allowed them to fund their son’s sled hockey activities. Their son wound up excelling at the sport and was a member of the US National Sled Hockey Team that won gold at the Paralympic games in Vancouver.

James Daoust Jr., John Hancock, Sterling Heights, Mich.—James encouraged long time clients who were self-employed to purchase long-term-care insurance when they approached age 65. Soon after, one of them suffered a stroke that left him partially paralyzed. When the long –term-care insurance reached its policy payout limit, he was able to continue to receive benefits because of his policy’s shared –care rider that allowed him to tap into his wife’s benefits.

Recipients of the awards will be honored alongside their respective clients at the annual conference of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors Association to be held in September in Las Vegas.